Cargo tracking system to be launched next mth

- Rajesh Khanal, Kathmandu

Dec 1, 2017-The government is all set to launch an electronic cargo tracking system for Nepal-bound containers at Kolkata Port in India, one of the main gateways for Nepal’s trade with third countries. The system, which will become operational next month, is expected to reduce the cost of trading by preventing pilferage and delays in shipment of goods. 

The system, which will become operational next month, is expected to reduce the cost of trading by preventing pilferage and delays in shipment of goods. The cargo tracking system uses satellite-based Global Positioning System (GPS) and General Packet Radio Service that provides continuous internet connection. 

Containers will be tagged with an electronic chip when they leave the port which will allow authorities to keep track of them continuously. Traders will be charged Rs3,000 to Rs3,500 per container for the service, Commerce Ministry Spokesperson Rabi Shankar Sainju said.

The system enables real-time tracking of cargo from the point of loading to the point of discharge. It is used by countries worldwide and helps the authorities and 

private transporters to monitor movement of goods along the route.  

Sainju said the ministry had planned to start a pilot system from December. “Although we were supposed to start implementing the system in September, we were delayed due to lengthy negotiations with the vendor company,” Sainju said. 

Earlier, the ministry had planned to implement the system in April. However, it was deferred due to delays in signing a memorandum of understanding with Indian authorities and the occurrence of local elections in Nepal in May and June. 

“Based on the pilot implementation, we will take the necessary measures to make it effective and take it into full-fledged form,” Sainju said.  

The system will keep track of consignments from the time they leave until they arrive at their destination in Nepal. 

According to the Commerce Ministry, an authorised entity will attach the chip to containers at Kolkata Port or Vishakhapatnam Port. It will follow up the containers until they reach Birgunj Dry Port where the tracking devices will be retrieved.  

Sainju said that the ministry would be implementing the system on cargo dispatched from Kolkata Port in the first phase. “We have planned to implement it on shipments from Vishakhapatnam Port in the future,” he said.  

The government decided to implement the tracking system following complaints from traders about increased demurrage charge due to delays in shipment of consignments. Currently, an estimated 500 containers are stuck at Kolkata Port as a result of traffic congestion and slow clearance process at the port. 

Apart from problems at Kolkata Port, deliberate delays by shipping agents and transporters have also been forcing traders to pay additional charges. 

The shipping company gives 21 days as turnaround time for Nepal-bound 

containers. If the cargo is not unloaded and the empty container returned by that time, importers have to pay $100 per container per day as demurrage charge. 

Traders have also been complaining about pilferage during transit. The tracking system is expected to eliminate these problems for importers. 

Published: 01-12-2017 08:01

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